Graphic Novels Read in March 2015

I’m really excited to have four works translated from other languages in this month’s list and hope we’ll see more not only here on my list of graphic novels read, but more importantly from more publishers. I hope you find something of interest in the books listed below.


Sam Zabel and the Magic Pen (2015) Dylan Horrocks (Fantagraphics)

Derek and I interviewed Horrocks on The Comics Alternative earlier this month. It isn’t necessary to have read Horrocks’s masterful Hicksville before reading Sam Zabel – a meta fantasy about traveling inside comics, the creative process and more – but it wouldn’t hurt. If you haven’t read Horrocks, you should. (adults)



The Fade Out, Vol. 1 (2015) Ed Brubaker, Sean Phillips (Image)

Brubaker and Phillips do it again, giving us an excellent noir-laced story of murder and Hollywood in it’s golden age. Though largely a “setting-the-stage” volume, this initial trade paperback promises to be another major title from this exceptional creative team, perhaps the best one going in comics today. (adults)



Dreamless (2010) Bobby Crosby, Sarah Ellertton (Blatant Comics)

Derek and I reviewed the webcomics edition of this title recently, and while the art is excellent, the story was too melodramatic for our tastes. You can read it online for free, especially since the print edition sold out quickly. (teens and older)



Nailbiter, Vol. 1: There Will Be Blood (2014) Joshua Williamson, Mike Henderson (Image)

I really wanted to like Nailbiter, but just couldn’t get over the premise of Buckaroo, Oregon being the city that produced 16 of the worst series killers in history. NSA Agent Nicholas Finch tries to solve a mystery with the help of infamous serial killer Edward “Nailbiter” Warren.

Not only is this too reminiscent of The Silence of the Lambs, the book also seems as if it doesn’t know whether it wants to be horror or comedy. It can certainly be both, but the mixture just didn’t work for me. (adults)



Mr. Monsters Presents: The Secret Files of Dr. Drew: Stalker of the Unknown (2014) Marilyn Mercer (story), Jerry Grandenetti (art), Abe Kanegson (lettering) (Dark Horse)

Jerry Grandenetti, Marilyn Mercer, Abe Kanegson all worked for Will Eisner on The Spirit by day and created Dr. Drew by night for Rangers Comics from 1949-1951. Dr. Drew is sort of a combination of Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Strange, a unique and frequently satisfying blend. The art far outshines the stories and you can’t help but think Steve Ditko must’ve read these comics over and over until the pages disintegrated. Definitely worth a look. (teens and older)



The Life After, Vol. 1 (2015) Joshua Hale Fialkov, Gabo (Oni Press)

Jude is a young man whose life seems to be going nowhere. That’s because it isn’t; he’s in suicide purgatory. But he’s not there by himself; there’s also Ernest Hemingway, who befriends Jude. Together they suspect something strange is going on in the afterlife… This is a clever title I plan to keep reading. (adults)



The Dead Rider (2015) Kevin Ferrara (Dark Horse)

Reviewed at The Comics Alternative (teens and older)



aama 2: The Invisible Throng (2012/2014) Frederik Peeters (SelfMadeHero)

Verloc Nim refused the technological advances of society, which caused problems with his job, his family, and pretty much everything else. Just when he thinks things can’t get any worse, Verloc’s brother Conrad carts him away to another planet to help him locate and retrieve a strange substance called aama. Derek and I discussed the first volume of amma on The Comics Alternative podcast last year and this volume (translated from the French) is even more compelling than the first. (adults)



Bird & Squirrel on Ice (J 2014) James Burks (GRAPHIX)

This follow-up to Bird & Squirrel on the Run is silly fun that will probably entertain younger readers. Bird and Squirrel find themselves at the South Pole, where Bird is all set to be fed to a killer whale as a sacrifice, that is, unless Squirrel can come up with a plan to rescue Bird. (May heaven help Bird…) The younger the reader, the better. (all ages)



Tex: The Lonesome Rider (2005/2015) Claudio Nizzi, Joe Kubert (Dark Horse)

The Tex Willer western comics have been going strong in Italy since 1948, but I’m not sure if many (or any) have been translated into English. This is a newer tale (originally published in 2005) from Claudio Nizzi and American comics legend Joe Kubert. If you love westerns and western comics, you won’t want to miss this superb tale of revenge and frontier justice. Derek and I discussed this graphic novel recently at The Comics Alternative. (teens and older)



Sweatshop (2003/2015) Peter Bagge, Stephen DeStefano, Johnny Ryan, Jim Blanchard, Stephanie Gladden, Matt Wray (Fantagraphics)

Bagge and friends tell the story of Mel Bowling, the creator of a comic strip called Freddy Ferret. Mel is a slave-driver to his hard-working staff (who do almost all of the work on the strip) and reaps any of the glory that’s to be had, which is typical of his out-of-touch-with-reality lifestyle. The humor is effective, typical Bagge, which is always a good thing. Derek and I discussed this title recently here. (adults)



Run Like Crazy Run Like Hell (2013/2015) Jacques Tardi, Jean-Patrick Manchette (Fantagraphics)

This excellent adaption of a 1970s crime novel by Manchette is the perfect tale for the talents of Jacques Tardi, a neo-noir story of a rich industrialist named Hartog, who hires a disturbed young woman named Julie as a nanny for his brat of a nephew Peter. But things go dark quickly and Julie emerges as a tough-as-nails heroine who’ll do anything to protect Peter. Anything by Tardi is worth your time, but this one will appeal especially to noir and neo-noir fans. (adults)



Last Man: The Stranger (2013/2015) Balak, Michaël Sanlauille, Bastien Uluès (First Second)

Look for a review of this one over at The Comics Alternative soon. A mysterious stranger comes to compete in the annual Games, a competition of fighting and magic in a medieval-looking village. It’s young Adrian’s first competition and he wants to win the prize money so he and his single mom can enjoy a better life. Translated from the original French, this manga is fast-paced and entertaining. I’m eager to read the next book in the series. (teens and older)



Amelia Earhart: This Broad Ocean (2010) Sarah Stewart Taylor, Ben Towle (Disney-Hyperion)

Although Amelia Earhart: This Broad Ocean only covers a small chapter of Earhart’s life, it’s enough to entice Grace, a young girl reporter in Newfoundland, to want to make her own dreams become a reality. There are several moments of discovery here, moments of the pure joy of doing something you were born to do, something that gives you a sense of wonder, discovery and fulfillment. A great black-and-white graphic novel for kids and adults. I only wish it were longer. (approx. ages 8 and older)


Please share what you read last month!

(Photos: Goodreads, Comic Book Resources)

2 thoughts on “Graphic Novels Read in March 2015

  1. Good picks here, Andy! I have to give Amelia Earhart a shot. Looks very good. I just re-read David Boring by Clowes.


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